Roger Federer eases into French Open semi-finals

Roger Federer has made his 20th consecutive semi-final in a grand-slam tournament with a convincing straight-sets victory over Gael Monfils at the French Open. The Swiss No 2 seed, bidding to claim his first title at Roland Garros, was in solid form as he won 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, 6-4 on Philippe Chatrier court.

Runner-up at Roland Garros for the past three years, Federer looked more in control of his game than he had two days ago, when he had to come back from two sets and 4-3 down to defeat Tommy Haas. Most notably, Federer’s forehand was working again and he made fewer errors.

However, Monfils, the 11th seed, gave Federer a decent workout and he was forced to save break points in the first and 11th games as an even first set went to a tie-break. After two mini-breaks each, Federer clinched it when he swatted home a forehand volley at the end of a riveting rally.

The former world No 1, a four-set winner over Monfils in the semi-finals of the 2008 French Open, improved in the second set, with his forehand and serve hitting the spot as he broke twice to take the set.

The Frenchman called for the doctor prior to the start of the third set, a stomach problem appearing to be the problem. The doctor was summoned again at the end of the third game, with the set going with serve to give Monfils 2-1 ahead.

But Federer increased the pressure on his opponent, quietening the home crowd, and in game nine, Monfils slammed a forehand into the net facing a second break point. That proved decisive and Federer held comfortably in the next to eliminate the only Frenchman still in the singles draw.

Federer will meet either Juan Martin del Potro or Tommy Robredo in the last four knowing that no-one left in the tournament has beaten him on clay.

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